When you hear the term ‘cardio’, do you think of sweat dripping off your forehead while you’re running your heart out on the treadmill or taking a brisk walk during your lunch hour? It’s both. Cardiovascular exercise, which is also known as aerobic exercise, means that you’re performing an activity ‘with oxygen’.
This kind of exercise:
- Uses large muscle groups, for example your legs or upper body,
- Requires respiration or controlled breathing, as well as
- Raises your heart rate and keeps it in an aerobic zone for a set amount of time.
Common forms of cardio include physical activities such as walking, jogging, swimming, cycling and fitness classes. Cardio machines could include a rower, elliptical, stair climber, upright or recumbent bike as well as the treadmill.
While cardio does burn a lot of calories and helps with aiding in weight loss, including it with at least between two and three days a week of resistance workouts may raise the rate at which you lose weight.
The amount of cardio which you need to lose weight depends on various factors such as your current weight, diet, day-to-day activity level, and age.
Cardio Lowers Your Risks
Cardio exercise can assist with decreasing the risk of heart attack, stroke as well as a myriad of other health issues. However the amount itself is quite negligible.
In the United States of America, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) makes the recommendation that all people who are over the age of 18 get no less than 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise every single week (as well as to two strength-training sessions that target all the key muscle groups). That equals two and a half hours of any physical activity which bumps up your heart rate to 60% of its maximum.
You will be able to estimate your max heart rate by subtracting your age from 220. So, for instance, the average 38-year-old guy has a maximum heart rate of 182 beats per minute (BPM). Thus, he’d want his heart rate to hover around 109 BPM while performing moderate exercise.
So, How Much Cardio Is Actually Enough?
If you’re performing a moderate physical activity – such as a quick walk or jog, a fun dance class, or a moderate indoor cycling class – you will only need to do 30 minutes five days a week in order to check that box.
For a more intensive cardio – such as High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), Orangetheory or another intense bootcamp – three sessions, which last between 25 and 30 minutes, per week would be enough.
When in doubt, 30 minutes of cardio on most days of the week is a great rule to follow. The sweet spot will be something which makes you feel energised and not depleted. You’ll also want to concentrate on doing cardio which you enjoy!
Some great rules of thumb to follow are:
Do Cardio And Strength Training
A solid routine involves cardio, strength, flexibility/mobility as well as rest. Even if you’re not including a traditional workout into your routine, concentrate on ways to remain active during the day. Strength training will assist with preventing and building lean muscle, which burns more calories than fat.
Alternate Cardio Intensities
Attempt to vary the kind of cardio you’re doing (a challenging day, an easy day, a hill day, an off day, etc.) to allow yourself adequate recovery time and avoid burnout.
Rather Than Adding Time To Your Workout Add A Challenge
On the treadmill, you are able to play with the incline or include speed intervals as an easy way to make the workout more exciting – as well as challenging – without being on there longer.
Try New Classes
This is a really fun way to try out new routines and change up your cardio sessions. Try an indoor cycling, dance, or Zumba class.
Do you want to learn more about cardio training? If you do then you need to study our Personal Training Diploma. Follow this link to find out more.